Does your "monkey mind" drive you a little bit crazy? Mine does sometimes! All day long, thoughts pop in and pass on through like endless messages on a ticker tape. Occasionally I think, "Gosh! Where on earth did that thought come from?!"
If you're anything like me, you might have a judgement "about" your over-thinking monkey mind...
"What's wrong with me?" "Why can't I stop this?" "I'm supposed to be mindful, but it's impossible!" "My thoughts are driving me crazy!"
There's something I've seen...
It's just what minds do.
They wander and then they come back to the present, naturally. There’s nothing “wrong” with you when it’s off wandering. It’s a natural part of being human. Your clever brain is simply exploring your mental archives to protect you from potential danger and help you figure out what to do next.
Kinda like a yoga pose. It might look like a person is still, but their brain is actually moving them in and out of the pose ever-so-slightly, constantly recentering.
Given that thoughts and feelings are two sides of the same coin, when I believe there’s something wrong with having a monkey mind, "secondary" suffering is created: uncomfortable, stressful feelings arise, innocently. But it's all connected to the natural psychological energy of my mind, feelings and thoughts, moving, flowing, wandering on by.
I've found that thinking I have to “do” something to fix the wandering adds to the wandering and the thinking and the suffering; I don’t have to work at it, to “be mindful” or “think something different” or "do something" on purpose. It's all happening naturally…
Our oh-so human mind will generally come back to a neutral “OK-ness” more quickly and easily when we see that it’s designed to happen that way, all on it's own.
So the short answer is unfortunately, no: our monkey minds can't be tamed. However, when we change our relationship to our thoughts, by seeing their transient nature, seeing they're not us, that it's safe to treat them like background noise and get on with life in the present moment, they'll naturally fade into the background.
Counsellor, Writer and Educator
I'd love to hear your thoughts and answer any questions? You can email me here.
With thanks to Dr. Amy Johnson who's video inspired this article.